First off, this is my first post. I've been interested in Poly for awhile and want to genuinely try it... unfortunately, I've made many (many, many) classic mistakes and now have to clean up the mess. I've read ethical slut, listen to poly weekly, etc... but translating book knowledge into real world experience can be tough.
I'm now trying to learn from all of you. Here is my timeline. you can skip the first half and just insert [trying to move from an affair to poly] and totally get where I'm at.
I know this is not a true poly experience since deception is involved. Is our little "triad" doomed?
1) It was 2011. I had been married for 12 years. Had cheated a few times and was feeling trapped in my marriage (I grew up evangelical and didn't have sex until I was married at 22. I've struggled ever since.) My therapist suggested a separation, but I was too scared to do that.
2) In November 2011, I started a new project and met Beth. She and I grew up similarly evangelical and were both in the process of deconstructing it. Beth was in a partnership with Mark.
3) Over the next 6 months, Beth and I developed an amazing rapport. We had great chemistry. I started to develop a crush. We began talking about our curiosity around polyamory.
4) In May 2012, Beth and Mark got engaged. I was a bit sad, but supportive.
5) In June 2012, Beth and I went on a 6 week road trip for the project. I came on to her. Initially she pushed back, but we kept flirting with each other. Eventually we started an affair. By the end of the trip, she admitted she loved me. I returned the sentiment.
6) When we got home, we continued the affair. We started trying to figure out a way if we could introduce poly to our respective partners.
7) In February 2013, my relationship with my wife had gotten worse. We decided to go to counseling. I told her I wanted to open the relationship. She obviously wasn't game (and was suspicious of Beth and I.) Our therapist suggested a separation. I was still too scared to take the option.
8) Beth and Mark started to talk about poly. He was receptive and they started negotiating. He still didn't know about me (although he had his suspicions.)
9) Beth and I during this time both admitted that we were amazing lovers and have never experienced a relationship like this that worked on so many levels.
10) In May 2013, I finally asked for a separation from my wife. I told her that I wanted to be poly with Beth. She was obviously hurt. Around the same time, Beth told Mark about me and said she didn't want to be married. Mark was shocked, but was willing to work through it. He was committed to the process and they called off the wedding. Mark asked if we were having an affair, Beth said it was an emotional affair, but we hadn't had sex yet (untrue.) Mark had some anger at me, but understood how our relationship developed and was willing to work through all that.
11) Beth, Mark, and I started the process of trying to become poly. Beth and I "officially" started fucking. Mark started looking for other relationships. I had a few experiences myself with other women. All was going mostly well. Except I had isolated myself from most of my community. I didn't have any support. I was struggling with being alone since Beth and Mark lived with each other. And Beth, Mark, and I hadn't sat down and had a proper negotiation. I was waiting on Beth to talk to Mark and negotiate with him. She kept telling me he's slow but that we'll get to the place where we can be anchors to each other.
12) In October 2013, Beth and Mark decided to get married. She framed it as a good thing for their families, and a better legal arrangement... but that it wouldn't change anything about our Triad. I was initially supportive because I was still married to my wife (we still haven't worked out if we're going to be financial partners or divorced or what.) I also was using it as an "I told you so" to those in my community that I can do poly. Ugh, I was being stupid.
13) In November, I started freaking out. Beth and Mark's wedding was a few weeks out. They were about to have their Bachelor/Bachlorette parties. I started realizing I was ignoring that little voice in my head that something was off. I secretly wanted to marry Beth, I was angry that Beth and Mark were getting married before we had figured out our Triad. I told Beth, in a moment of weakness, that I would have divorced my wife. Beth was pissed that I waited to tell her this. And said she couldn't hurt Mark again. She also said that we would work it out, and that she would love to have a commitment ceremony with me someday.
14) This month I celebrated my 14 year anniversary. My wife and I had a lovely meal and both decided the relationship was over.
15) Beth and Mark were married last week. I did my best to be supportive of both of them. But a few days later, I realized I was ignoring my voice, my desires, my needs. I realized I needed an anchor, someone whose parents can know me. I also realized that we all weren't on the same page. Mark doesn't know the full nature of my and Beth's relationship. They also didn't know what I really wanted. And now we're in this passive aggressive, blaming, arguing cycle.
16) I think Beth needs to disclose to Mark that we were fucking the whole time. He needs to know what we mean to each other if we can even attempt to have a good poly negotiation. Beth says she will go to her grave before Mark knows about the physical affair. Is right for me to push her to do this? Should I just get out of this mess?
While I get that honesty is much preferred to deception, I don't think you are pushing Beth to divulge the nature of your early relationship to Mark out of some sense of nobility; it sounds like you want to fuck up her relationship with Mark. That is NOT cool! How do you think she is going to feel if she loses Mark? Happy? Do you really think that would be good for your relationship? Do you think she is going to joyfully want to marry you after that?
It sounds as if you do not feel you can comfortably be poly AND participate in family / community events. You wouldn't be the first person to find this challenging. You wouldn't be the first person to decide he functions better in monogamy. I would say, your timing in regard to Beth sucks. And I would say efforts on your part to harm her relationship with Mark are terribly unkind. Unkind to Beth, and evn more so to Mark - who did his best to adapt to the situation you and Beth created behind his back.
Just get out and have other polyamorous relationships. Telling Mark will only cause more pain. Maybe, I'm time, you can find a "primary" style relationship and Beth and Mark will decide poly work for them too and turn you and Beth can have a "secondary" style relationship. Maybe Beth will decide to be with you in a polyamorous relationship and sacrifice Mark in order to do so. Maybe Beth will stay with Mark in a monogamous marriage and you'll shift to a loving friendship with her that doesn't cross their monogamous boundaries but allows you to be in her life for the long term.
You can keep those scenarios as real possibilities by making sure you don't let this get ugly and to the point where it isn't healthy to interact on any level
Btw... You are not in a triad you are in a vee relationship.
Triad means you have a relationship with Mark too.
Now to the basis of your post. You sound like you just want to ruin Beths relationship with Mark out of jealousy. Not cool dude.
To decide to grow some emotional courage and become firm of purpose rather than flibbly wibbly and just wibbling along? That is only something YOU can choose for yourself. Life is not a dress rehearsal. You only get the one.
This may be hard to hear. But I mean this kindly ok? :o
So... choose your next choice.
You have been making a mess of your relationships. You have now learned that (what you choose to do) AND (what you choose to not do) can ripple across your whole polymath / family math network. Here you often chose to not be honest and up front. It did not seem to serve you well since it led to a domino effect of new problems.
Honestly? In your shoes? I'd let Beth and Mark go.
At this point in time you want to come clean and start living your life in more authentic, honest ways. (I am going to assume positive intent on your part, and not like you are trying to make Mark's life hell just because you suffer jealousy that he is the husband now for Beth and not you in that position.)
Beth is not on board for honesty. So even if it hurts? End it with her. You are correct. A polyship founded on lies of omission and hidden affairs is not as healthy as it could be and is not starting out on strong foundations.
You could stop cheating with her and just end it. Could stop eroding your mental, emotional and spiritual health by continuing to participate in a cheating affair that continues lies.
The ending of it is what helps YOU get back on the healthier path. If you do not have the internal resources at this time to worry about all players' healths? Get just YOU out then so YOU can be in a healthier place in time. Staying here is not healthy for YOU. Worry about YOUR health. Strike out on your own and be ok doing that.
Stop allowing yourself to be distracted with the new (your feelings for Beth). Focus on tending to your own needs.
If you want to polyship in future, you could work on making your needs known up front and honestly from the start.Could learn to get over your fearfulness of disclosure. Because that is an important interpersonal skill.
Had you told wife you wanted to polyship at the start, even if it led to breaking up because she does not want to polyship? It could have been dealt with before hand CLEANLY, with all parties being respectful and respected. Including you. Not all this stuff in a crazy pile up.
In choosing to serve "fear" and "my own comfort level" rather than a higher value like "respect me and respect others by being honest in my communication" even if it moved you outside your comfort zone... you ended up choosing less than self-respecting toward yourself and less respectful behavior toward others. You have reaped all kinds of shenanigans and heartache as a result. Choosing the lower value did not seem serve you well.
Could try to choose your higher value next time even if it feels uncomfortable or scary. Growth happens at the edges of the comfort zone.
And here is new opportunity to choose anew! A new day!
So... Jedi or Muppet kind of day? Your day. You get to choose.
Choose well. Then play ball. See how it serves you. Hopefully it serves you better.
Thanks everyone.. you are right, I don't want to fuck up their relationship, its not cool. We got ourselves in a sticky corner and now we have to figure out how to move on, nobly.
I actually suggested to beth we end it, or I go find another partner that will meet my needs. She wouldn't accept that. She says she needs both of us, that Mark and I together fill her relationship needs and access different parts of her.
But I know I need to just decide what it is I want. If this doesn't work for me, I need to be an adult and say so and work on finding what I need.
Shitty timing. I'm learning. Trying to be a Jedi. WOrk on my honesty. First step, learn what I want.
Thanks for kicking me in the ass!
MARK is meeting HER needs.
But Beth is not the only player here. (Only Beth's needs are mostly met at this time in inappropriate, dishonest ways) is not (You, Beth AND Mark's needs are mostly met at this time in appropriate, honest ways.)
If staying in a marriage that no longer fits is not your cup of tea? Could stop being married. Deal with it in appropriate ways.
Take care of your business, heal, and then allow yourself to move on. Hopefully to something honest and more fulfulling/satisfying than this.
Hang in there. You can do it!
You have the right to get your needs met too.
She has no right to limit your seeking another partner.
The only thing she has a say in is anything that impacts her sexual health.
I don't understand what the problem is- but I'm assuming that you don't really understand poly at all. I think you are using poly as a way to justify the fact that you cheated on your wife and she cheated on her fiancÚ. Poly is more than that. Too bad you can't just embrace the lifestyle as a valid lifestyle choice that you are making and be able to go from there. It's an awesome lifestyle!
Beth sounds very selfish
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